The term “culture” refers to the patterns and traits of human behaviour, including everything that includes religion, beliefs, social conventions, the arts, customs, and habits.
Different individuals use the word “culture” in different ways.
It might signify a string quartet and using several utensils during dinner to some people. Others might use it ambiguously when making travel arrangements abroad. It refers to a petri dish filled with microorganisms if you’re a scientist.
Every person goes through this, and how you deal with it can define your life.
Cultures coexist. Culture is not innate; it is learnt.
Instead, it may be claimed that it develops as a result of our efforts to meet our biological demands. We, our families, our friends, our art, and organisations are the rightful owners of it.
What is Culture?
Culture refers to the norms and traits of human conduct. Religion, social standards, social practises, arts, customs, and habits are all referred to collectively as culture.
The intriguing thing is that the term “culture” nearly defies precise definition.
Possibly because it is a part of our humanity, and since humans generally defy description. But that hasn’t stopped some of history’s most brilliant minds from making an effort to define it.
Edward B. Tylor, an anthropological, was the first to use the term “culture” in the way we currently understand it.
According to him, culture is “that complex whole consisting of knowledge, belief, art, law, morals, custom, and any other abilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” (1971’s Primitive Culture).
The Famous Definitions of Culture
stated Geert Hofstede
“Culture is the collective programming that separates the members of one human group from those of another in the human mind. In this view, culture is a set of shared moral principles.
According to the definition given by the dictionary, “a culture is a configuration of learnt behaviours and results of behaviour whose component pieces are shared and transmitted by the members of a certain society.”
Communication Between Cultures, edited by R.E. Porter and L.A. Samovar. Belmont, California: Wadsworth.
“The collective training of the mind that separates members of one category of people from another is known as culture.” – Corporate cultures as well as national cultures.
cited by Edgar Schein
“Culture is the deeper level of fundamental assumptions and beliefs shared by members of an organisation, which work instinctively and determine an organization’s perspective of itself and its environment in a basic, “taken for granted,” manner.”
What is Culture in Anthropology?
The study of humanity, including its ancient roots and current diversity, is known as anthropology. Often mistaken with many other humanities-related subjects like history, sociology, etc., anthropology has a much wider range of study.
A society is deeply ingrained with its culture.
- The study of the biological aspects of humans, particularly their evolution, is known as biological anthropology.
- The study of ancient human cultures through their physical remnants is called archaeology.
- The study of human communication, including its origins, development, variety, and change, is known as linguistic anthropology.
- The study of living peoples and their cultures, including variety and change, is known as cultural anthropology.
The fourth discipline, cultural anthropology, analyses various two crucial aspects of culture to define it more thoroughly.
- Diversity: The unique ways that people and societies behave
- Change: This describes how these unique characteristics have evolved and how humans have adapted to them.
In general, cultural anthropology relates to how culture influences people’s daily lives, social interactions, artistic creations, occupations, religious convictions, and interpersonal relationships.
However, an archaeologist excavating a prehistoric site and discovering wall remnants and pottery fragments could never claim to have discovered “culture.”
The designs on the pottery, the places of worship, and the layout of a family house are all clear indications of the culture’s influence. But they are simply remnants.
Culture is an inherent part of life.
The relation between culture and society
Clearly defining the boundaries between culture and society can be challenging. Both have to do with how we live, both entail systems and beliefs, and both are created by social groups.
A society is a collection of living things that communicate with one another. This could refer to a beehive, a flock of birds, a school of fish, etc. Human societies are similar to other social systems in that they are made up of individuals who occasionally interact with one another directly. But in human civilizations, history, custom, and expectations also play a role in determining how the group behaves.
However, individuals within a single civilization can have various cultures. Consequently, despite being related, society and culture are not the same.
People live in societies, therefore if culture is a pattern of behaviour, then it seems to reason that the two will be intertwined throughout.
Additionally, society—the gathering of individuals for the purpose of sharing ideas and experiences—is necessary for culture to exist. Why would we have ever needed to develop language or politics without communities of people living together? One does not exist without the other.
Culture is all about Learned Behaviors
We do not learn about culture from birth. No child is born with the ability to comprehend art or communicate in their parents’ native tongue. It does, however, have a yearning to communicate and be understood, which it typically tries to satisfy by screaming, which initially works just fine. Later, though, it discovers that certain noises signify various concepts, and language learning then starts.
As a result, culture is likewise something that develops with time. Over time, it has been erected.
It’s not like folks in 1000 BC got together and debated whether to eat with chopsticks or a fork or whether to teach math in the classroom. These things took a long time to develop, and now that they have, schools are studying mathematical ideas that the ancient Greeks developed.
Conclusion – What is Culture?
Culture comes naturally.
We create culture as we work to meet our fundamental wants.
It is passed down from one generation to the next and is something you pick up even when you are not aware that you are paying attention.
Each community accumulates ideas and behaviours that make up its culture. Yes, as though a river were picking them up and carrying them away.
We cannot avoid participating in it even though it is neither preprogrammed or automatic.
Every person on earth has these beliefs and social habits embedded in them. Within our own society, we are tied together by these social conventions.
Furthermore, these standards are bridging sometimes insurmountable cultural gaps, enabling us to communicate with one another.
Culture is present in all aspects of life, including music, dancing, and ceramic decoration.
It includes our political structures, our free time, and the places of worship we erect.
The way we communicate with one another and whether we remove our shoes before entering the house are also examples of culture.
The product of humanity attempting to survive in the world it has created, it is a shared behaviour.